Many people who consider their pets part of the family might be tempted to include their animals in Thanksgiving dinner, but local animal welfare officials say it might be best to keep the festivities limited to those who walk on two legs.
Los Angeles Animal Services says many of the most popular holiday dishes can pose health hazards for dogs, cats and other pets. They’ve released a list of tips to make sure your Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch for both you, your human guests and your furry friends.
First, be careful of what your pets can get a hold of. They might be able to sneak a bite out of the garbage, off the counter or even from the dining room table. While many of the foods served during Thanksgiving might be harmless, others can be harmful for your pets.
Cooked turkey bones can splinter into shards and cause choking or scratch your animal’s insides. When cooked, bones also lose many of the nutrients that would make them a healthy snack.
Fatty foods that may make for a decadent feast can also be harmful to pets. Human food with high fat can cause intestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea, as well as pancreatitis, according to dog food maker Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
It’s also important to remember that your pets are still animals, meaning they’ll eat a lot of things they shouldn’t, and can easily overeat if not monitored.
Alcoholic beverages, while maybe necessary for some people to get through the holidays, should be kept away from pets. Some dogs may actually enjoy the smell and taste of beer and wine, but alcohol is extremely dangerous and can cause their blood sugar and blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels, LA Animal Services said.
And as much as you might want to involve your pet in dessert, officials warn that many sweet treats can be dangerous too. You probably know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but some artificial sweeteners can be even more dangerous. Xylitol, commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods can be deadly if consumed by cats or dogs.
If you really, absolutely need to make your pet part of the Thanksgiving feast, officials suggest tailoring your treats for your furry friends. Instead of giving them “people food,” give them a special snack specifically made for them. If you do, also remember to adjust their regular feeding so they don’t overeat.
If you believe your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, you should call your veterinarian or local emergency pet clinic. Many regularly staffed vet offices will be closed on Thanksgiving, so make sure you know which clinics take emergency patients and are open on holidays.
And, as always, make sure your animals are licensed, microchipped and have up-to-date contact information just in case they sneak out for a turkey trot.
For more information about keeping your pets safe during the holidays, click here.